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Archive for the ‘Vincent van Gogh’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: NEGATIVLAND-No Other Possibility (1989).

In the year that Helter Stupid came out, Negativland released this one hour video.  It is a visual approximation of a Negativland album.  Lots of cuts, lots of snippets of ads and songs and news broadcasts.  It’s mostly nonsense with some reality and some things that may or may not be reality.  Who knows?

It opens with a critical diatribe that scrolls over a test pattern.  The diatribe by Crosley Bendix criticizes everything that is (correctly) poor about the video and making up other things–the death of a stuntman.

After the opening credits, the video opens with David Willis’ mother watching TV.  On the screen is a clip from Dick Vaughn and his Jack-O-Lantern (more below).  Then she asks David for her cigarettes and the song from A Big Ten 8 Place is acted out hilariously.

After some clips from video games and a commercial for Marlboro, there’s a video for “Nesbitt’s Lime Soda Song.”  When the bee comes into the song, it turns into clips of David filming his family talking about bees and more (like his grandma looking in the fridge for potato chips which makes David laugh).

Change channels until The Dick Vaughn Show comes on and he brings out David Willis to light up a Jack-O-Lantern with 700 volts.

After a commercial from ZOTOS and Nation Hairdressers and Cosmetologists Association that tells women they have to look their best in order to get a job.  “Appearance and good grooming are essential.”

Then it’s time for Trick or Treat with David Willis who is dressed as E.T.

He talks about Halloween safety with 5 hand drawn posters.

  1. no fresh fruit–nails razors
  2. looks for holes or tears in wrappers–inject chemicals
  3. avoid homemade treats
  4. avoid weird, strange-looking people.
  5. if you bob for apples make sure your partners are not sick

Then some explosions with cars flipping.  A small video slowly evolves revealing a live performance of David singing the “Very Stupid” song from 10-8.   It is noisier and rocks pretty hard while David yells the lyrics: “1, 2, stupid ; 3, 4 dumb.”  The version slowly comes into focus as David roams the audience.  he even adds new lyrics: “1,2 urinate ; 3, 4 defecate ; 5, 6 fornicate ; 7, 8  seat be sate!”

After a text: “Earlier that same evening,” a car drives into the building under a scroll from Dick Goodbody raving about this beauty, “her name is Monarch Mercury Monarch.”

Followed by a commercial for the Monarch.

Then there’s a video clip of the fire in the Negativland recording building (which I think is true?).  They interview Mark Hosler who grabbed master tapes and studio equipment.  He tours the burned out building.

Then there’s interstitial questions of what people think about TV.

  • An old man complaining about sex on TV.
  • Teenage girls saying they like soap operas because of the sex.
  • A guy saying TV would be improved if they quit showing so many commercials.

Up next is Crosley Bendix (“Director, Stylistic Premonitions” played by Don Joyce) of the Universal Media Netweb has an insane piece about numerology, at the end of which he cries, “Thanks a million!

  • MTV has fine guys on it

Then comes Negativland “Fire Song” with Mark singing in the burnt house.

A series of ads for canned foods: tomatoes, grapes, yams, dog food over a muzak version of “Age of Aquarius.”

Then comes the religion portion of the show.  Another diatribe by Crosley Bendix complains of people always searching for more intense entertainment.  Since Jesus’s time.  In fact, The Last Supper is the crucial link-up of food and show business.

Then comes more live scenes of some crazy music and kids walking around in costumes who start shouting about ice cream and other food.

  • I don’t watch religious TV because I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Clips of preachers and then Pastor Dick comes out,

He tells some dad jokes like asking for coffee without cream and the waitress saying “you’ll have to have coffee without milk because we are out of cream.”

He brings out a racist ventriloquist dummy Enrico Gomez.  Then has everyone sing along with the Christian Youth Fellowship song from the album How Do You Spell Joy?

He has a Stop sign and asks everyone to clap along. Stop! [clap clap] And let me tell you what the Lord has done do me.  When he turns around the sign is a hand written note “fuck you pastor dick.”

Then comes the 5 eyewitness news team featuring Hal Eisner, with the video of the audio used in side one of the album Helter Stupid.  Don Joyce is interviewed.

As the video ends, there’s one more guy that they interview.  He says

TV is gonna make me famous one day.  When the interviewer asks how, the guy says

“you gotta know how to exploit the media.”

Was he a plant?  Who knows.  There is no other possibility, godammit.

Watch the whole video here.

[READ: April 25, 2019] “Attention Geniuses: Cash Only”

Woody Allen doesn’t seem to write much for the New Yorker these days.  I’ve found over the years that I rather like some of his New Yorker jokes and then others are just ho-hum.  Of all of the short “funny” pieces in the New Yorker, Woody tends to be able to pull off three pages better than others.

Although this one drags and often come across as an excuse to throw out pretentious references.

And yet he’s got some great turns of phrase:

Jogging along Fifth Avenue last summer as part of a fitness program designed to reduce my life expectancy to that of a nineteenth century coal miner

(more…)

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tsugeSOUNDTRACK: MOPS-“White Rabbit” (1968).

mopsAfter totally grooving on The Mops’ songs in yesterday’s post I decided I had to check out their cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.”

And, boy do I love it.  It came from their debut album Psychedelic Sound in Japan which was released in 1968 (“White Rabbit” came out in 1967).   The album also includes covers of “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane, “Light My Fire” by The Doors and two songs by The Animals.  They received much press for being the “first psychedelic band” in Japan, and performed with elaborate light shows.

Lead singer Hiromitsu Suzuki really nails all the notes (even if he doesn’t quite nail all the words), but I especially enjoy the instrumentation they employ–the violin is an interesting addition.  And the way the instruments are separated in headphones (all drums in the right ear?) is really psychedelic.

It is really a trippy version (“Somebody to Love” is pretty fine too, especially when the really buzzy guitar kicks in about half way through).

Trash Market

Tadao Tsuge is a Japanese cartoonist considered “one of alternative manga’s cult stars.”  He has been making cartoons since 1959 and has contributed to all manner of Japanese publications.

What seems to set him apart from other cartoonists (according to the interviews and such that fill out the book) is that Tadao grew up in the slums of Tokyo and is willing to write about them.  He also worked for many many years at a blood bank (one that paid people for their blood).  It was there, amid the terrible conditions, that he believes he contracted hepatitis.

The amazing thing to me while reading these six cartoons (which I assume are only a tiny fraction Tadao’s total output, but I’m not sure) is that I had no idea when they were written–they have a timelessness that is really amazing.  So when I finally flipped back to the front and saw that the first story was written in 1968, I was blown away. (more…)

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pablo SOUNDTRACK: BUILT TO SPILL-Live (2000).

btsliveSoon after releasing “Carry the Zero,” Built to Spill released this, their first (and so far only) live disc.

This disc shows a jamming side of the band that their records up to now hadn’t really displayed (sure there was some evidence of the jam band within, but who would have guessed 2 songs on this disc would stretch to 20 minutes?).

The live set also shows a rather contrarian spirit in that there are only 9 songs in 70 some minutes and only 5 of the songs are actual Built to Spill songs.

The disc opens with “The Plan,” a great version of their most recent disc’s opener.  Then they jump right into Perfect from Now On’s  opening track “Randy Described Eternity.”  That song has a lot of parts and sections, and they do them perfectly.  They follow it with another song from Perfect, “Stop the Show” which also has multiple parts and again, they nail it.  These three songs were recorded in New York.  Brett Netson joined them for “Randy,” and “Stop” which really helps to flesh out those songs.

The next song is a cover of The Halo Benders’ “Virginia Reel Around the Fountain.”  And if it sounds very fitting for Doug, he was in The Halo Benders with Calvin Johnson before he started Built to Spill.  Then comes the centerpiece of the record–a 20 minute version of Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer.”  And it is amazing.  He sounds enough like Neil to be totally respectful, without just being a rip off.  It’s probably the best version of this song I’ve heard (until I saw Neil do it this summer).

They switch gears to their first single, “Car,” a delightful 3 minute song.   And then, to fill out this almost all covers section, they play “Singing Sores Make Perfect Swords” a song originally done by Love as Laughter.  I don’t know the original, but it fits in with Doug’s style.  These four songs were record in Seattle.

There’s one song that was recorded in Denver, “I Would Hurt a Fly,” which is yet another song from Perfect, and is one of my favorite songs of theirs.  It does not disappoint.

The final song on the disc is a nineteen minute version of the song “Broken Chairs” (which is 8 minutes long on Secret).  They do the whistling section and a ton of solos.  Indeed, the way they stretch out the song out with guitar solos and noise (and the way the song ends with feedback) is really cool.  Netson joined them for “Fly” and “Broken Chairs” (which is why that ending solo is so intense.

It’ s a great live collection of songs and the sound is outstanding.  You’d never know it was recorded in different venues, either.

[READ: October 4, 2015] Pablo

Judging this book by its cover you would be correct in assuming that it is about Pablo Picasso.  But rather than being a simple history of the Art Master (the title of the series), this is a thorough recounting of Picasso’s life.  And what’s even more interesting is that the story is told from the point of view of Picasso’s lover and model Fernande Olivier.

And Fernande’s diary entries make up the bulk of the story and allow for a very personal look into the man and the stylistic choices that Picasso made over the years.  As the book says on the back, the authors show “how Picasso’s style developed in response to his friendships and rivalries.”  And of his rivals none was greater than Henri Matisse.  (The book also covers Picasso’s life before she met him too, of course).

The original work was published (in French) in four volumes.   This edition was translated by Edward Gauvin.

I especially like the way the book begins from the point of view of Fernande as an old woman, still alive and reminiscing about her life. (And yes, it’s amazing to realize that Picasso died in 1973…in my lifetime!).  (more…)

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